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Barnes - Riggs Letters

Courtesy of Sherrie (Barnes) Haines

1839, July 9
Harvey Riggs, Waterbury, CT, to Myron and Esther (Riggs) Barnes transcription
1839, Aug. 12 Samuel Riggs, Harwinton, CT to Myron and Esther (Riggs) Barnes transcription
1840, Feb. 2 Isaac Riggs, Harwinton, CT to Myron and Esther (Riggs) Barnes transcription
1850, June 23 Harvey Riggs, New Haven, CT, to Myron and Esther (Riggs) Barnes transcription
1854, Oct. 22 William B. Riggs to Myron and Esther (Riggs) Barnes transcription
1865, Feb. 26
Merritt W. Riggs, Avon, N.Y.,

Waterbury, Conn
July 9th, 1839

Dear Brother and Sister,
I now have a few leisure moments which I am very happy to spend in writing a few lines to you to let you know my present situation likewise my future calculations. I am now at work in the Button Factory at Waterville formerly called Haydensville for Ives Hendrick & Co at seventy five cents per day and Board, and shall in all probability continue untill the first of March if not a year at the same price and if the man that I am to work with does as he talks of I can within the course of a year get a dollar and a half a day I work at casting and rolling and he says if the Co, is willing he will learn me all he can and give it up to me as soon as the first of March I have not spoken to Mr. Hendrick yet, but I intend to soon and I think it very probable that he will let me do it, I board with Austin Painter as I have done for seven months past and enjoy comfortable health and a comfortable living I have nothing more in particular to write concerning myself only give my best love to Esther and the children likewise to all the family especially Marcia and her little girl and dont forget Lot, kiss them dear little children once for me and tell Marcie to do me the same kindness I heard from father about a week ago and he was well and was getting shingles in Harwinton, he had got a couple of half barrels of fish here which I expect he is keeping one certain for you. Isaac lives in Winchester I believe but I have not seen him in about six months but the last I heard from Wm he was well and his family they have two children as I suppose you have heard before Father you know has got to be an old gray bearded man and we must not say by him as the song says poor old horse let him die we must respect our father and take good care of him and be a comfort to him in his old age and the Lord will reward us it has now got to be 10 o'clock and I must retire to rest if God grants I will finish my letter tomorrow so good night.
Father send me a letter last spring that he received from you stating that you was coming down here this summer on a visit if you did not move your family down of which I was very much pleased to hear but I should be much more so to have you bring them too for I want to see them two little children I want to see little Tommy very much but I think that Eliby seems rather nearer to me that he does because I have lived with her so much, however I dont intend to show any partiality between them nor between them and Marcie's little Mary, for I want to see her as much as any one and tell them all that uncle Harvey wants to see them very much and tell that the same for Grampa tell Eliza that she must be a good girl mind her parents learn her Book well and if I every see them I will give her and little Mary each of them a new bonnet and little Tommy, a new cap, I want to have you tell Marcia that I want to see her and Lot very much indeed I want to see Lot for I want to pay him for the trouble that I made him when I was sick there and tell them both they must write to me immediately and let me know where they are and how they get along and I will write to them. I know nothing but what Father and Isaac and his family are well and respecting your fathers family I have not heard from them in some time but the last I heard from them they were all well. I was to have you and Esther write to me immediately and whether you intend to come down here this fall or not and I hope you will come. Give my best love to all enquireing friends especially to mother Pratt, write as soon as you receive this. I must now close my letter and may the blessings of heaven rest on you all now henceforth and forever, please to excuse a poor pen poor paper and poor writing, yours till death.
Harvey Riggs
Myron W. & E. Barnes

Letter addressed to Mr. Myron W. Barnes, Leroy, Genesee County, New York with speed
Return address: Wolcottville, Aug 16 1839
Harwinton, CT
August 12, 1839

Dear Children:
  I once more take my pen to inform you of my health and circumstances. My health is good and my prospects you will say Father thinks are flattering when I come to tell you what they are unexpected to you I presume but you know there is one who prepares our hearts and directs our steps. I will now inform you on the 10th of July, I gave my hand in Marriage to Mrs. Lucy Palmeter, of Burlington aged 46 years. She is a woman of my highest esteem and tenderest regard calculated I think to render the evening of life pleasant and agreeable. We commenced house keeping August 1st. We live five miles from Plymouth hollow on the turnpike to Wolcottsville. Your Mother in law is an industrious, pleasant and agreeable woman, one I presume you would be pleased to call Mother. Harvey (Riggs) thinks there is nobody like her. He was up here yesterday to see us and seemed pleased to think that Father was placed in a situation to enjoy all this transitory world had to bestow. We have enough of everything to eat and drink. We have about a hundred wt. of broad side pork, two half lbs. of fish, butter and cheese hge and cake and I have just bough a part of lamb, so we are going to have a stue pye for supper. Now what shall I say expostulations and entreaties I find are useless but such are my feelings that I cannot forbear to intreat you to come and see. Harvey says he thinks by your letter that you have a desire to come down this fall which gave animation to his mind although the tears trickled down his checks when he spoke of Esther "Mrs. M.W. Barnes". I suppose you know that girl lies near his heart and little tommy "Barnes" yes all of you I cannot make no distinction for I possess a parent's heart. I know no odds between Children and Children in law and their children (Elizabeth excepted). Walter "Myron Walter Barnes" I am speaking to you and not only you but all the rest of my children to come and see for themselves, see how Father does, how he lives and what a pleasant, agreeable woman you have for a Mother in law. Well by this time you will say Father has wrote enough of this stuff but suffer me a little farther. I want to have you tell Elizabeth that she must come down and live along with Grandma. Now I will turn your attention to another subject entirely. I want to have you write to me as soon as you receive this and let me know what is your determination and calculation and prospects respecting your coming to Ct. this fall. If you should all live and have your healths do not say you have no where to go for now you have a Father's house to come to where you will be kindly received if you see fit to come. We live in a good house where we can entertain you decently and comfortably which your Mother and I should feel disposed to do. I want to have you show this letter to all the children and tell them that Father wants to have them spend the remainder of their days in old Ct. Tell Merritt "Riggs" or William "Riggs" and "Lot" Malloy to come and see Father once more before I shall go to that journey from whence I shall not return. Tell them that it is an overwhelming thought that I should never behold them again in the flesh. I want to have you look on the bright side of the cloud and not anticipate something that there is no probability of ever taking place for the trouble that we borrow is of our own procuring the profet says if we walk in darkness and have no light let us trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon his God. I suppose you will all feel anxious to see what Father has got for a wife but you do not feel more anxious to see her than I do to have you. You are not all strangers to the scenes that I have had to pass through. I was called to bear the yoke in my youth you know that through my life that clouds have intervened but now my sun is on the decline, the sky is clear and serene and I hope it will remain so until it shall set forever but I forbear. Now can I say anything that will induce any or all of you to come. Walter if you or any of you should come to Ct. be so kind as to call on Judge Gibbs and give my best regards to him and family and all the family connections and be sure and get my drawing knife and fro and if the Judge has collected my money bring it with you if you should come, if not let him enclose it in a letter directed to Wolcottsville, Litchfield County, where I wish you to direct yours. Nothing more at present. Now I must close by subscribing ourselves your affectionate parents. Our best respects to you all, adieu.
Samuel Riggs
Lucy Riggs

Note: I have added more complete information in quotations to explain a little fuller who Samuel is talking about.
Information from Genealogy of the Riggs Family by John H. Wallace (NY, John W. Wallace, 1901):
#87 Samuel Riggs was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, about 1774-75. On reaching maturity he first married Catharine Shaw, who lived but a year, and he then married Betsey Rigby and settled in Oxford, Connecticut. When their first child was six months old, the mother and babe removed with Jeremiah and part of his family to Livonia, N.Y., where she rejoined her husband Samuel, who had gone there in advance. They reared a family of eight children, as given below, and after the death of the mother, Samuel returned to Connecticut, and married a third wife, who survived the death of her husband, in 1848.
Sherrie Haines, Victoria, B.C.

Letter addressed to Mr. Myron W. Barnes, Leroy, Genesee County, New York
Stamped from: Wolcottville Febry 7th
Harwinton, CT
Feb 2, 1840

Dear Brother,
knowing that the Destinies of all us all is held in the hand of a supreme Being and that he knows all our thoughts better than we do ourselves and knowing that it is our duty to act by the rule or right and not deceive any one I want to ask you whether you have, when you have wrote to us wrote your feelings about coming to Ct. I presume you will say you have but I have some doubts about that for if you want to come I do not see what there is to hinder. I do not know but you think if you come back here you will have father to take care of but you need not trouble yourself any thing about that for father is better off than any of us for he has got his health and a smart woman to help him and there is nothing to hinder him from getting a good living. I write to you to have your write to me and let me know whether you ever intend to come to this country, if you do I want to have you write when you shall come and if not I want to have you write how clocks sell in that part of the country and how you will do if I will send out some running parts and you case them. I can get some parts for my work this spring or some already finished off but I did not know which would be the best way to send the parts or send them finished and I want to have you write and let me know which would be the best way for I am a thinking some about coming out there next fall if I can send some clocks out there and have you sell them for me and pay you for the trouble of selling them for I think there is something to be made on them. Clocks are in good demand here and they are a doing a good deal at them now. I can buy them for four dollars apiece and if you think you can sell them so as to make any thing on them I should like to send some out to you and have you sell them and I will come out next fall and see you and see if we cannot get something for ourselves some time or other and not always be so poor that we cant go alone.
If you had any notion about coming back to this country and wanted to know any thing about work here, I can tell you that clocks are in good demand and you could get work any where you was a mind to and get good wages. There is a young man lives about one mile from me that works at clocks all the time. He busy the running parts and cases them himself and makes money by it. He told me the other day that he was drove to death for clocks. He said he could not finish off as fast as they wanted them. If I come out there next fall I shall continue to get a pair of trunks and get them filled with goods and peddle out there and back again so I need not lose my journey and go for nothing. If you calculate to come back this spring I want to have you write to me immediately and write just as you mean to do so I can make calculations about the clocks. I have wrote about that all I want to so I will write about something else. We are all well but not much to do this winter for the snow in this part of the country is three feet deep on the level and people cannot get about much to bring any work for me to do but I have got provisions enough to last my family through this winter if I do not do any thing. Fathers family are well and the Old man enjoys himself pretty well. Harvey lives in Waterbury and works in the Button factory and haves nineteen dollars and a half a month and bids fair to make a smart likely man. He works steady and faithful and they like him very much and would not let him go away on no consideration at all. as it respects your fathers family I do not know any thing about them only I heard from Ebrun's folks last fall and they were all sick at that time and I have not heard any thing from them since. I want to have you write how you think german silver spoons will go out there for if I come out there next fall I intend to bring some if you think I can sell them to make any profit on them. I can buy them here for two dollars and a quarter a doze, and I want to have you write whether I can make any thing or not.
Now I will tell you what I want to have you do, I want to have you if you will come down to this country and go to work at clocks and I will go to work with you. We can make the cases and buy the running parts and finish them off in good style and we can make money on them. We can hire a shop here where I live. There is a good water wheel and water enough and right on the turnpike from Woolcottsville to Waterbury and wood plenty and a large house and a good one and can make bedsteads and some cabinet if we are a mind to.
I do not know but you will think that I have wrote enough of this foolish stuff but I write just as I think for I do believe we might do well. I want to have you consider this and then make up your mind and then write me an answer, Amen,
Give our respects all enquiring friends.
I should like to see you all, but the lord only knows when.
I remain your sincere friend and Brother,
Isaac W. Riggs
To M.W. Barnes

Letter addressed to Mr. Myron W. Barnes, Meridian, Sanford Post Office, Ingham County, Michigan
New Haven, CT
June 23, 1850

Dear Brother and Sister,
I have been negligent for reasons I know not what but I have had trouble upon trouble heaped upon me until it seems as though I didn't know what to do with myself but I am alive yet and kicking. I have a great deal to say to you but I don't know where to begin or what to say first. I suppose however that you would like to hear the particulars concerning Fathers and Isaacs death and also uncle Josiah Rigby and his wife and Laura Upson, uncle John Rigbys youngest daughter making five in all of our relatives that have died within two years. Father the first and Laura the last being about two years difference in their deaths.
Fathers health was better after he came back from the west but he had several severe fits of sickness and got diseased all over so that he was completely broke to pieces and finally died of disease of the heart. He was very much distressed in the last stages of life and lay in a dying state about three hours and I presume a person could have heard him breathe a doz rods from the house. Esther you can think what my feelings were but you can't know them neither can I tell you and then to be taken immediately from that to the whole care of Isaac on a bed of sickness of six months duration and then to be separated from him was seemingly more than I could bear for sometimes it seemed as though I should sink into the earth the circumstances that Isaac's sickness placed him in was a sourse of grief to him and I think aggravated his disease for such work as some folks tried to make was enough to break the heart of a stone and I had them all to fight but I got through with it and they didn't get him to the poor house either. Isaac says in his last hours, I thank God I have one brother that is a brother. The town of Oxford took Edward and put him out and Ann took charge of Eliza and I haven't heard direct from them in over a year. Isaac's disease terminated in consumption, he died very easy and reconciled compared with what he had to undergo.
Uncle Josiah Ribgy and his wife both died last summer of dysentery just a weeks difference in their deaths and Laura died this spring of consumption. I have no near relatives near me now except Williams and his family and they live up in Guntown, so
called. Eliza was at my house a few days since she said they were all well as usual. William grows old but about the same old six pence they have six children and in rather embarrassed circumstances but however they get along very well and get a very good living I believe. William keeps out of debt and that is certainly a good thing for any man but as for ourselves we are about as good as two and sixpence have young ones as fast as rabbits and that is about all we do have only we have to work prodigous hard to take care of them we have got two already and before you know it we shall have more. We are going to have a great time here the fourth and I wish you was here to enjoy it with us also the advantages of the salt water that we can have but we don't improve it very often.
I work in Waterbury last year six or seven months on a hours for Philo Brown Esq. The joiner work cost between seven and eight thousand dollars. You would hardly know you was to go to Waterbury now, you stand on west side hill and look on to it and it looks like a city. I was past the place that used to be our home last summer and my feelings were better felt than described. the place looked very natural but our friends I thought where are they. the thought was too much for me. Only one brother left with me, both sisters absent from me, Father, mother and three brothers gone the way of all the earth, us respecting our stepmother. I believe she took very good care of Father when he was sick but aside from that I haven't much to say for her therefore I wont say anything about her. She caused Father a great deal of trouble say nothing about myself and then to get rid of her I gave her every thing that belonged to Father that she and her daughter hadn't stole, she and her son in law agreeing to pay what few debts there were but I have since had five dollars to pay that belonged to them to pay, but enough of this for I don't want to think of it at all. I have had so much trouble and some sickness that my constitution is pretty much broken down but my health appears to be rather better this summer than usual. Thus far Harriet's health is not very good for her although she is never very rugged.
I work at joinering here and can get a very good living but that is about all although wages are $1.50 per day yet every thing is so high here that it takes most of about all I can earn to live. I believe I have nothing more of importance to write only I wish you to write to me as soon as you receive this and write all about your affairs how you get along and all about Elizabeth and her husband and all about the children. Our children's names are Georgianna, Amelia, Grace and Ella. So good bye, Yours res.,
                       Harvey and Harriet Amelia Riggs.

Naugatuck, CT
Oct. 22, 1854

Dear Brother and Sister:
It is a long time since I have written to the west and I now embrace this oportunity of writing a few lines to you to let you know how we are situated and what we are doing and in the first place of will commence by leting you know that Father, Mother, Joseph Samuel, Isaac and Harvey have all gone to that bourn from whence no traveler returns and I am left along to tell thee I buried Harvey the 6th of last month I went an stayd with and took care of him almost two weeks but all to no purpus I could not save him and with shame I must confess have neglected to inform you of it until the present time, But it is so long since I have written a letter that it is a grate burden to me to write, Harvey left a feeble wife and three little children the oldes not eight years of age and the youngest a little boy about three
He talked quite hard of coming out West last spring and would have come if I would have come with him but I had not the means to come and he would not leave me, so I think we shall both have to Die in the walls of Bagdat, I should like to see my remaining brother and Sisters before I Die but it is altogether likely that I never shall, unless they see fit to come an visit me for I have got to be so old and inferm and so poor that it will be impossible for me to visit them. we are all well at present as usual but you know that Elizas health is never vary good
Charles health is not very good Mary is a great straping Girl and George Ellis and Harvey are all well and smart, Harvey is at present our baby eight years old last August, but we had the misfortune one year ago this Day to bury our little Caroline five years ole and it made a dreadful rent in our family I assure you, but God will be Done I should like to have you inform Esther an Merritt of Harveys Death and our circumstance and situation an Write rite back to me and let me know how you all do and how you are geting along all of you and espesially your little Mary for I long to see her the most of any body in this world,
and I want you to let me know where Merritt is and how he is situated Write to Esther and tell her I should like to have her Write to me and inform me how she is situated and her family, and I should like to hear from Merritt but I suppose I never shall, but you are so situated that I can hear from and see you occasionaly if you feel disposed, nothing more at presant, but Write as soon as you receve this, and come and see me if you can
Yours till Death
Wm. B. Riggs
Harvey had the Dysentery and sinking petred typhas fever
our love an respects to all inquiring friends
Wm B & E. Riggs

Note: This letter was addressed to Lot & Marcie Maloy (sister of William B. Riggs) Spelling and context kept as in the original letter.  The "Ellis" in the above letter is Ellen.

Letter: Avon
February 26th, 1865

Dear Friends
Mr. Wm. Search gave me a letter the other day, that he received from you enquiring if he knew anything of me or of my family and said I must write and let you know that some of us are still alive and in Avon. A year ago last fall we moved to Pennsylvania, to live with one of our sons (Edward) but, my wife did not like to live there, so we came back here the first of July, and shall probably stay here for the rest of our lives. Our children are scattered all over the country; James, Martha and the youngest son in New York, Samuel (if he is living) is in the Rebel army, Edward was drafted and went into the employ of the government in the construction corps, while John is at the bottom of the sea, and Lankey in his grave at New Lebanon. After I came back here, I went up to work on the Valley Canal repairing locks; and while I was gone my wife received a letter from Williams son George I think that is his name, but I am so careless about answering letters, even to my children that did not answer it. Elsie (Wolcott) married and moved to Iowa and Mortimer's little daughter Hattie went with her three years ago last fall. I saw Dea Search yesterday, and he wanted I should write you and send his love, and good wishes. I had a letter from your daughter a long time ago, but that fared like most others didn't get any answer. Tell Esther to write me, and I will try to do better by you all. Avon February 26th 1865 Yours truly,
Love to all M.W. Riggs. All well.

From the Riggs Genealogy
Merritt Woodruff Riggs was born at Oxford, Conn., November 7, 1800 and when six months old his parents settled at Livonia, Livingston County, N.Y. In May 1825, he married Harriet Kellogg, who was born October 8, 1801, and died at the home of her daughter, Elsie M. Wolcott, at Manchester, Iowa, July 12, 1891. He was a school teacher in his younger days and like many other of the Riggs tribe he was blessed with a good voice, and was a popular teacher of vocal music for some years. He was also a bridge contractor of some reputation. December 27, 1870, he was killed by a backing train at Avon, N.Y.

Sherrie Haines

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